Electronic Arts will certainly keep busy this holiday season. While one of the publisher's bigger titles, Battlefield: Hardline, won't see a release until 2015, it'll still provide plenty of love for fans this holiday season with Dragon Age: Inquisition, the next-gen debut title from BioWare.
After suffering many setbacks with Dragon Age II – which was a drastic change of pace from what the original Dragon Age: Origins provided – Inquisition appears to have intentions of getting the series back on track, leaning more towards an open-world style of adventure, with many quests to follow and crucial choices to make. However, this isn't just simply deciding if you're "good" or "bad," but rather establishing your character as a whole. All while kicking a lot of dragon butt, of course.
The game allows you to choose between three classes – warrior, rogue or mage. As you might expect, each class has its perks when it comes to attacking, defense and other special techniques, all of which you'll utilize when fighting against enemies or making certain choices. Four playable races will be available, including human, dwarf, elf or qunari, and the one we saw during the demonstration, the qunari mage, had a lot to offer in terms of ability and power.
As with previous games, players will be able to call upon companions and recruit them into their party. Sure, they're tough enough to go it alone, but adding someone to your ranks helps make battles easier to endure through, while, at the same time, perhaps even adding a romance option if you feel the situation calls for it. After all, BioWare hasn't been a developer that's shied away from emotions. The Mass Effect games clearly prove that.
Once recruited, you'll be able to involve companions in battle strategy, as well as customize their armor appearance and in-class weapon style. So, if you're looking for someone to complement your warrior, you can do so. Playing around with various combinations has different effects, so it never hurts to experiment and see what works best for you in terms of strategy.
As you proceed on your quest, you'll be able to overtake certain regions on the map. This is vital, as you'll take over strongholds and essentially upgrade them so that you can provide a hub for you and your characters, thus moving forward on your journey with the Inqusition. You'll also be able to craft items from raw materials that you pick up over the course of your missions, combining them into more powerful weapons that you can use down the line. Considering what you'll be facing – including large hordes of foes and fire-breathing dragons – every bit of strength you can muster truly helps.
Perhaps the biggest item that fans will be happy to see return – especially since it was removed from Dragon Age II – is the tactical view. This adds a whole new layer of strategy of the game, as you can pause the third-person action and provide orders to your allies, commanding them to overtake areas and keep an eye on certain threats throughout the Inquisition. The game also gives you the option to jump between parties quickly, in case you feel like dishing out the fatal blow yourself, or surveying the land and seeing what you need to do next.
Conversations once again play a huge part in moving the story forward in Inquisition. First and foremost, your character's approach will make all the difference in how others see you, whether you're caring and compassionate, or downright cruel. Secondly, who you have in your party might also mark a change in how certain mission-oriented conversations come across, so make sure you choose wisely. Again, it all ties in with your character, but doesn't just provide them with a general branding. BioWare goes much deeper with that here, although not all the effects of how this works have been shown as of yet. Some battles could easily leave someone shaken, though, depending on how they play out.
Best of all, the battles aren't quickly concluded. You may even take a few fights across a large landscape, especially against dragons who aren't so easily defeated. While this clearly shouts out shades of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the way it's done in the third-person perspective – and with PS4 or Xbox One processing power, to boot – makes it feel like a fresh new take on the subject. Even if that means not shouting out dragon chants.
Sure, Dragon Age has seen its bumps and bruises over the years, but Inquisition appears to be a welcome return to form, and that's something fans will truly enjoy. We'll be back with a full strategy rundown and other tips when the game releases this November.
Prima Games has announced the publication of multiple Dragon Age Inquisition Guides: the standard edition guide, the hardcover Collector's Edition guide, as well as the uber-edition Dragon Age Inquisition: Inquisitor's Edition.